Summary: Depression is something we can all struggle with during the Holidays. This series directly addresses the causes, and counters with the Promises that God gives us to endure and overcome.
God’s Promises for the Holiday Season
You have Hope…
As we continue in our series of God’s Promises to us during the Holiday Season, today we stop to remember the promise, “You have Hope.” Hope is a very powerful thing.
“Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst in them. Hope opens doors where despair closes them. Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot be done. Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of mankind. Hope “lights a candle” instead of “cursing the darkness.” Hope regards problems, small or large, as opportunities. Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism. Hope means expectancy when things are otherwise hopeless.”
- G. K. Chesterton
We are living in times that are a lot less certain than they used to be…or are we? I’ll be honest with you, I have a tendency to look at my current state in life and think, “I remember simpler times. I wish I was back there.” But when I really think of the “better moments” I can remember saying the same thing then too! The only time I couldn’t look back to better times, was when I was an infant!
So here’s the question: What is it that I keep going back to time after time when I’m feeling down, like a failure or all together forsaken? God’s Hope. And this is something that is rooted in God’s “Oath” to us. Remember that word, oath, because it is vital to a never-ending source of hope.
Hebrews 6:13-19 (NLT)
For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:
14 “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”
15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.
16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
You have hope…
1. In times of Tribulation
tribulation: a cause or state of great trouble or suffering
Antithesis: “I can’t make it!”
God says: “I am still in control; allow me to grow you from these.”
Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
A. God is in control
“Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.” - Francis Bacon
This quote might seem a bit cynical, but it does say something quite profound: “If my hope is not founded in my faith in God, it will leave me grasping for anything.”
It’s like the beginning of any sports season. All teams start out undefeated, and they have high hopes for the coming season, even the weaker ones! But at some point the team’s hope has got to be an action right? Otherwise the focus of hope becomes “Next Season”.
As Christians, we must have the presence of mind to keep our HOPE rooted in the faithfulness of God, or we will find ourselves chasing “The next best thing”.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT)
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
B. God uses these for growth and glory
Once we remember that God is in control, the natural next step is start seeking how God is going to use these tribulations for good in us.
Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV)
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.